So the big day has come and gone. The man in his red suit swept down to school on his sleigh, sweated bucketloads under the African sun, terrified some kids and then flew back to his toy factory to keep on preparing for the 25th.
It was an interesting visit to say the least. It coincided with the last day of school so the children all played some games in the garden beforehand, sang songs and the parents milled about chatting and drinking tea. Gareth was desperate to be there but only had an hour in which to slot it in (in between various work meetings) – so we were on a very tight schedule. When Father Christmas eventually arrived there was much excitement that things were about to get underway. But the problem was that 40 children take rather a long time to distribute presents to.
They have to be called on a megaphone and torn away from whatever pursuit they are currently engaged in and persuaded to come and sit on Father Christmas’s knee. Then they have to pose for pictures and be cajoled into smiling (when many are close to tears or flat out bawling). Only then is the next child called up. The other problem is that I had been too efficient and given our wrapped present in very early, so it was right at the bottom of Santa’s sack.
It is pretty difficult to explain to a two and a half year old that her present is indeed coming, especially as she sits surrounded by friends ripping up paper and playing with new toys. After about 45 minutes we could at least see Rachel’s (badly wrapped) gift peeking out of the sack but frustratingly, it kept getting passed over. Father Christmas would come tantalisingly close to touching it, his hand would hover inches above it and then he’d pick up another one. Rachel has been very patient but was now close to a tantrum, Gareth was getting later and later for his meeting and I was starting to sweat from both anxiety and the December sun.
Eventually we realised we needed to stage an intervention. I’m not proud of pushing in but we really did want Rachel’s Dad to see her get her gift from Father Christmas. So my ever resourceful husband scurried round the back, surreptiously grabbed Rachel’s gift and thrust it into Father Christmas’s unsuspecting hands. It was sneaky, yet very effective. And it just goes to show that when it comes to your child, you’ll do anything to make them happy.